Chinese Engagement with the Maldives: Impact on Security Environment in the Indian Ocean Region

Dr Anand Kumar is Associate Fellow at Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses. Click here for detailed profile
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  • March 2012

    This article explores the objectives of China's engagement in the Maldives and how the current administration of the country is responding to it. The article also looks at how the Maldives has been used by major powers in the past. On the basis of these analyses, it envisages the path that Maldivian foreign policy is likely to follow in the future and its likely impact on the security environment in the Indian Ocean region. The article argues that China is trying to make inroads into the Maldives to fulfil its strategic objectives, but it has not been very successful because of the regime of President Nasheed, which is friendly towards India. However, as Chinese economic engagement in the Maldives increases, it might affect the close relationship between India and the Maldives. The article also highlights that the Chinese thrust into the Indian Ocean cannot be described as a ‘string of pearls’ to encircle India, but has more to do with furthering its strategic interests and global military ambitions.